What is your role at Anderson & Sheppard?
I’m an apprentice trouser cutter.
When did you first become interested in tailoring?
It happened around the age of sixteen when I visited a tailor with my dad. I only got a small glimpse of what tailors do that day but I was instantly fascinated.
What is your educational background?
I finished my A levels and applied to University; I had been accepted but I turned it down because I wanted to pursue bespoke tailoring.
Who gave you your first tailoring opportunity?
Anderson & Sheppard did, it was not the most common process whereby most would go to Newham College, undertake a bespoke tailoring course and get to grips with the basic aspects of tailoring. I just visited the shop and managed to get a day’s work experience and then I came back again a month later for another day. I was persistent and asked for more work and luckily enough they let me stay on for two more weeks. On my last day I got offered an apprenticeship under John Malone and Oliver Spencer.
What is a day in the life at Anderson & Sheppard like?
Organising is probably the main part of my day. I have to arrange John’s work and ensure that everything is in place; this is something every apprentice cutter will have to do. There is also obviously a technical side to my work; a day can consist of me learning how to cut patterns with John or shadowing him and watching him work on the cloth. Taking time to focus on how my mentor works is how I will learn what is required from me in the future.
Is there anything you had wished you had known before you started this journey?
Not only is it a long process to become a cutter, it also requires me to be extremely meticulous. I guess I didn’t realise the extent of detail I would have to put in to my work until I started here.
What has been your most exciting moment at Anderson & Sheppard?
My most exciting moment had to be the first official day of my apprenticeship; I remember it like it was yesterday. I was alone with John because Oliver Spencer was on holiday and first thing in the morning a customer came in to pick up some trousers. I had no idea where anything was but yet I still found those pair of trousers, ever since then I think John has had faith in me.
The parties are always fun too, I’ve been lucky enough to be invited to a few. The BTBA dinner is always great; those in the industry get dressed up and show off their best black tie ensembles.
What are you working on right now?
Right now I am cutting a pattern from measurements I took from one of our measure books. This is the practice I will follow until I am ready to have my own customers. All of our customers’ measurements are kept in these books, so I will cut a pattern according to these measurements and I compare what I have done to John Malone’s work.
What is your favourite aspect of tailoring?
My favourite aspect of tailoring is seeing the end result. Almost every day there’s something new happening in the shop and when I look at the jackets, waistcoats, trousers and coats that are made here I realise how integral the bespoke tailoring industry is. You can understand why the pieces are worth so much money because of the work and intricacy that goes into making them.
What advice would you give to anybody that wants to get into the bespoke tailoring industry?
Be persistent and have faith; approach companies and ensure your personality shines through. Savile Row may seem like an intimidating place but the people here are lovely, so don’t be afraid to introduce yourself and show them what you can do and how hard you are willing to work.